When I started blogging about personal finance in 2011, my financial life was in transition. My wife and I had been aggressively paying down a mountain of consumer, student loan and auto loan debt for a few years at that point, and we were about one year away from finally being debt free.
But like many people on that long and lonely path to debt freedom, I was frustrated with the slow pace and became a victim of my own success. The fact that my debt payoff plan was working and not springing leaks that needed constant attention gave me a lot of free time to think about the macro level ideas of personal finance, and the psychological reasons people abuse themselves financially.
At the time I was reading a lot of personal finance blogs, so I decided to start Married (with Debt) in October 2011 as a way to learn more about online publishing and have an outlet for all the ideas I had (when you are bettering yourself, your friends or family aren’t going to want to hear about it).
I found the Yakezie Network in late December after a series of work-related setbacks inspired me to get serious and begin posting multiple times per week. I started the challenge at the beginning of the year and by Valentine’s Day had broken through the one quantifiable metric tracked by the Challenge.
Without the Yakezie Network, I probably would not be blogging today. I have met many kind and smart people (luckily meeting some of them in person) and even learned how to monetize online publishing.
As a writer who considers him a novice at blogging, having a group of people sharing similar challenges has really made the difference for me.
A Little About Me
I’m 31 years old and have been married for 8 years to a schoolteacher. We have two daughters, aged 7 and 2.
I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and work in political communication (yes, I sell the one thing no one wants: politicians) but I generally don’t enjoy discussing politics.
We married in our early twenties, and as the children of lower middle-class families we did what most young couples do when they get out of college and get paid: we bought stuff. New clothes and new furniture to replace the college apartment hand-me-downs, new cars, and a house. We also took a few international vacations.
It was in 2008 when I realized that when times got tough, the rich would get bailouts, the poor would get handouts, and the middle-class would get left out.
I began to see personal finance as a way for the middle-class to empower themselves and achieve independence from a financial system that has been created to keep certain people poor, make others rich without risk, and ultimately put profits before people.
I am happy to say that we recently became debt free and I feel even more optimistic that others can break the cycle of debt dependence to put their families and their communities first. Because debt affects us at all levels of society and robs us of the agility we need to seize opportunities, it is in our shared interest to eliminate it wherever we can.
Nailing the Transitions
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I started this blog at a time of transition. As I officially join the Yakezie Network, my life and site are again in transition. Now that we are debt free (minus the house), my writing and interests will shift more towards building wealth and planning for retirement.
Obviously that means the content at Married (with Debt) will evolve as I evolve. But I will always remain focused on my readers, because what truly keeps me going is getting email requests for my debt payoff and budget spreadsheet and thank-yous for helping someone get on the right track.
As Yakezie helped Married (with Debt) through its infancy, I have no doubt that it will continue to benefit me as I try new things and expand my online focus. It has been proven to me that once you let go of the me-vs-everyone idea and just start sharing and helping other bloggers, the things that are meant to happen can happen.
I look forward to helping Yakezie and other personal finance bloggers grow.